Supreme Court Opinions

Format: 08/01/2014
Format: 08/01/2014
Vernon Ray Davis v. Jim Reagan and Howard Sexton, D/B/A Precision Construction Traveler's Insurance Co.
03S01-9603-CV-00034
Authoring Judge: Justice Janice M. Holder
Trial Court Judge: Judge William R. Holt, Jr.

We granted this consolidated appeal to determine whether permanent total disability can be awarded when an anatomical disability rating is less than 16.7 percent. In Seiber v. Greenbrier Industries, Inc., 906 S.W.2d 444 (Tenn. 1995), this Court adopted a panel decision holding that the limits in Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241 (1996 Supp.) precluded an award of total disability when the anatomical impairment was less than 16.7 percent. A later, but unpublished, workers' compensation panel decision held that the limitations in Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241(b) are not applicable to permanent total disability claims. Warren v. Twin City Fire Ins. Co., No. 03S01-9506-CV-00061 (Nov. 29, 1995, at Knoxville). We granted review to reconcile these two cases and decide this issue. For the reasons explained below, we agree with the panel's findings in Warren and hold that Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241's limitations on permanent partial disability do not apply to awards of permanent total disability.

Sevier County Supreme Court 09/08/97
Arnold Carter v. State of Tennessee
03-S-01-9612-CR-00117
Authoring Judge: Justice Adolpha A Birch, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge R. Steven Bibb

We granted the State's application in this case to determine whether the Post-Conviction Procedure Act of 1995 (“the new Act”), provides to petitioners for whom the statute of limitations had expired under the old Act additional time in which to file petitions for post-conviction relief. We conclude that although the language of the new Act is ambiguous, the legislative intent is clear: petitioners for whom the statute of limitations expired prior to the effective date of the new Act, i.e., May 10, 1995, do not have an additional year in which to file petitions for post-conviction relief. Thus, the petition filed by Arnold Carter is barred by the statute of limitations. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, and the petition is dismissed.

Supreme Court 09/08/97
Robert Bean, Franklin Shaffer, David Autrey, et al., v. Ned Ray McWherter in his capacity as Governor of the State of Tennessee, et al., - Concurring
01S01-9607-CH-00132
Authoring Judge: Justice Janice M. Holder
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Irvin H. Kilcrease, Jr.

This appeal addresses the General Assembly's power to delegate rulemaking authority to administrative agencies. The Court of Appeals held  that the General Assembly could not constitutionally delegate power to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission ("TWRC") to add or delete animals from the dangerous species list. We reverse and hold that the legislature may delegate power to add and delete items from a statutory schedule absent explicit guidance standards. The legislature, however, must provide a basic standard accompanied by a general policy when delegating in areas concerning public health, safety, and general welfare.

Davidson County Supreme Court 09/08/97
State of Tennessee v. Jefferson C. Pennington
01S01-9607-PB-00133
Authoring Judge: Justice Adolpho A. Birch, Jr.
Trial Court Judge: Judge James R. Everett

We review this cause to determine whether detention immediately after arrest, purposely continued because of the accused’s refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test, constitutes punishment that prevents, under double jeopardy principles, punishment upon conviction. Because we find that jeopardy did not attach to the proceedings before the judicial commissioner and because the detention, even if punitive, did not constitute punishment for the charged offenses, we find no double jeopardy violation. Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed, the indictments are reinstated, and the cause is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

Supreme Court 09/08/97
Mary Blake v. Plus Mark, Inc. and Sue Ann Head, Director of the Division of Worker's Compensation, Tennessee Department of Labor
03S01-9512-CH-00137
Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Dennis H. Inman

This is an appeal from the decision of the Chancery Court in a worker's compensation case, in which the trial court granted the employee's motion for non-suit and then entered a judgment of no liability for the employer on its counterclaim. The judgment of the trial court is reversed, and the case is remanded.

Supreme Court 09/02/97
James R. Fruge and Jane Fruge v. John and Jane Doe
02S01-9601-CV-00005
Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Trial Court Judge: Judge George H. Brown, Jr.

This case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals affirming the trial court's award of summary judgment denying the plaintiff's claims under the uninsured motorist statute. That decision is reversed, and the case is remanded. 

Supreme Court 09/02/97
In re: Estate of Carleton Elliott Walton, Deceased, Jeffrey O. Walton, Administrator v. Leslie Young
01S01-9612-PB-00252
Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Trial Court Judge: Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.

This case presents for review with the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court's denial of a claim of paternity. For the reasons set forth, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the case is remanded. 

Davidson County Supreme Court 09/02/97
Gertrude Jackson and Josephine J. Johnson v. Helen Patton, Executrix of the Estate if Jennie Mai Jackson, Deceased
01S01-9609-CH-00177
Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Trial Court Judge: Chancellor Henry Denmark Bell

This will contest case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals that the trial court erred in sustaining the most recently executed instrument as the testatrix's last will and testament. For the reasons stated herein, the decision of the Court of Appeals is reversed and the judgment of the trial court is reinstated.

Supreme Court 09/02/97
William J. Snyder v. Ltg. Lufttechnische Gmb; and HSM Pressen-GmbH
01S01-9607-FD-00143
Authoring Judge: Justice Frank W. Drowota, III
Trial Court Judge: Magistrate Denis H. Inman

Pursuant to Rule 23 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Tennessee,1 this Court has accepted two questions certified to us by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. The questions are as follows: 1. Whether products liability defendants in a suit for personal injuries based on allegations of negligence and strict liability in tort may introduce evidence at trial that the plaintiff’s employer’s alteration, change, improper maintenance, or abnormal use of the defendants’ product proximately caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries. 2. If “no,” of what effect is Tenn. Code Ann. § 29- 28-108? 3 As explained below, the answer to the first certified question is that products liability defendants in a suit for personal injuries based on allegations of negligence and strict liability in tort may introduce relevant evidence at trial that the plaintiff’s employer’s alteration, change, improper maintenance, or abnormal use of the defendants’ product was the cause in fact of the plaintiff’s injuries. The jury may consider all evidence relevant to the actions of the employer with respect to the defendants’ product in assessing whether the plaintiff has met his burden of establishing the elements necessary to recover against the defendants. However, in making that determination, the jury may not assess fault against the employer. Our answer to the first question makes it unnecessary to reach the second one.

Knox County Supreme Court 09/02/97
Tammy R. Ganzevoort vs. Richard B. Russell, Martha T. Russell, and Jim Cassetty d/b/a Jim Cassetty Realty - Concurring
01S01-9602-CV-00040
Authoring Judge: Justice Lyle Reid
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas Goodall

This case presents for review the decision of the Court of Appeals reversing the trial court and dismissing an action for violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act1 brought by the purchaser of  residential real property against the seller and the seller’s broker. The judgment of the Court of Appeals dismissing the suit is affirmed.

Sumner County Supreme Court 08/25/97
Lamar Fletcher vs. State
02S01-9606-CR-00056
Authoring Judge:
Trial Court Judge:
Shelby County Supreme Court 08/25/97
Dept. of Health, Bureau of Medicaid vs. Jaco
01S01-9609-CH-00171
Authoring Judge:
Trial Court Judge:
Supreme Court 08/25/97
Steele , et. al. vs. Industrial Dev. Bd. of Metro Gov't.
01S01-9607-FD-00136
Authoring Judge:
Trial Court Judge:
Supreme Court 08/25/97
Ganzevoort vs. Russell
01S01-9602-CV-00040
Authoring Judge:
Trial Court Judge:
Supreme Court 08/25/97